Rio de Janeiro Travel Blog› entry 7 of 9 › view all entries
May 28th, 2009 – by: 2sneezesshort
The tour was informative, whilst at the same tie very clear that we were in no way obliged to buy anything if we didn't want to. Daniel, the tour guide spoke great english and answered all our questions, whilst making every effort to greet and communicate with every favela resident he encountered.
We rode on the backs of motorbikes to the top of the favela. Information that might have swayed the way I dressed, as my sarong dress and havaianas were not the ideal motorbike outfit, however, with one hand firmly gripping the side of my skirt closed, the other holding onto the back of the bike, and my thighs squishing firmly around my 'cab driver' I made it to the top of the favela no problems.
Daniel explained the electricity is stolen from the poles directly to avoid paying, so the overhead wires are teaming with extra cords running into the favela.
We learned those at the top of the favela would pay around R500 a month, whilst those at the bottom, paid around R100 a month. This is partly due to proximity to druglord/police conflict locations but also the result of bad sewerage systems getting progressively worse and worse as it made its way down the hill.
We saw a favela appointed worker dragging a large garbage bin around removing waste, but as Daniel pointed out, this really wasn't enough and as we worked down the hill the rubbish got increasingly worse. Our tour was somewhat of an anomaly. The Police had surrounded the periphery and accordingly the druglords ad taken the day off.
As one of my cotravellers mentioned, it wasn't nearly as bad as we had imagined, particularly as her photos of La Paz showed building style and living standards similar to those within the favela.
Talking to a few couch surfers, it seems that almost everyone in Rio sees the Favela tours as a good thing. Bringing industry and reducing the paranoia. Everyone seems to hate the police equally, so it goes.
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